Let Me Live – Female Foeticide

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Spend 600 rupees now and save 5 lacs later.

Sounds like an advertisement for an investment, tax saving or even a pension plan .Wrong it’s an advertisement for a sex determination test.

This advertisement took me back to a cold winter night in 1980 when our family were sitting huddled up, for warmth and comfort in the waiting room of a local civil hospital. It had been a very long and tense wait. My eldest sister was in the labour room for her second delivery and it had been quite a while, The doctor came out with a very mournful look. Our hearts sank; .my mother asked anxiously,’ Is everything all right?’ Yes, said the doctor, but it’s a girl’.

That was a wonderful moment for us and we rushed in to see my sister smiling proudly at her daughter thru her pain and tears.

It was time for celebration and joy.

My little niece was very lucky to have found a very loving family but not all little girls are.

Contrast this with an article I read

An article in The Los Angeles Times by Dahl burg, “Where killing baby girls ‘is no big sin’,”, describes a Tamil Nadu village. Rani( name changed by blogger) already had one daughter, so when she gave birth to a second girl, she killed her. For the three days of her second child’s short life, Rani admits, she refused to nurse her. To silence the infant’s famished cries, the impoverished village woman squeezed the milky sap from an oleander shrub, mixed it with Castor oil, and forced the poisonous potion down the newborn’s throat. The baby bled from the nose, then died soon afterward. Female neighbors buried her in a small hole near Rani square thatched hut of sun baked mud. They sympathized with Rani, and in the same circumstances, some would probably have done what she did. Her rationale was that “Instead of her suffering the way I do, I thought it was better to get rid of her.”

Female infanticide is being practiced even today by those who don’t have access to an amniocentesis test.

When we think of a safe place I doubt that there is one safer than a mother’s womb, equipped by nature to keep a little baby secure from everything. But today girls are not even safe there.

Diagnostic teams with ultrasound scanners detect the sex of a child even though they are banned in many Indian states and lead to female foeticide. It is designed to detect abnormalities and check the growth of babies and today abnormal parents use it to stop the growth of girls even before they can breathe.

In most countries in the world, there are approximately 105 female births for every 100 males. In India, there are less than 93 women for every 100 men in the population.

According to a United Nations survey 50 million girls have been wiped out since 1990.

Crimes against women are being carried out with impunity. It’s time to recognize that violence against women is a global human rights scandal that affects all of us.

The only way to stop this and to give a woman her due in life and promote The principle of equality between men and women through every media to change the attitude of son preference and improve the awareness of the general public on this issue;

Invest in your daughter’s future and education not her dowry; don’t let her become a burden, and thus sign her death warrant.

Bring up your daughters so that they realize their strengths and know they are as capable as a boy in every field and then some more. If a man can pick up a 100 kg weight, a woman picked him up when he was a mere 10 pounds and fed him, nursed him, kissed his hurts and wiped away his tears. If a man has physical strength then a woman has unheard of mental strength, powers of tolerance and an infinite capacity for love and forgiveness.

That’s why she has been chosen by nature for the most sacred of tasks; the propagation of the species without which you would not be here.

Today I am proud to say that we have invested in our daughter’s education and she is a strong individual in her own right; an asset to us and not a liability.

The power of change is in our hands.

I can hear an anguished prayer from an unborn girl who is under the knife even as I write

Don’t reserve a place for me only in parliament; Papa reserve a place for me in your hearts ;

Mama reserve a place for me in your womb;

I want to live; I don’t want to die.


This was a speech I gave in Toastmasters International in Dammam, Saudi Arabia for which I got best speech award at the Divison Level Competition in 2007

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